Triumph over adversity
This story was featured in the March 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Many artists might feel limited if asked to work only in pencil. But in the hands of Ryan Jacque, a pencil can capture wildlife and people with stunning realism. Having drawn since he was a kid, Jacque later took workshops at the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum in Springfield, MA, and at the former Ashton Institute of Art. He then experimented with other mediums at Paier College of Art and Ringling College of Art and Design, but he missed the feel of pencil and returned to his first love. “I like the fact that [with pencil] nothing is black or white, which is how it’s generally categorized,” he says.
Jacque’s pencil works soon gained recognition and earned him regular invitations to the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s Birds in Art show starting in 1998. But a serious fall during a hunting trip in 2008 threatened to derail his career; it left him with broken bones, blindness in one eye, and cognitive damage. With tremendous determination, though, Jacque overcame these limitations and has begun drawing more than ever. “I never quit trying, and I’m drawing more than I ever have,” he says. “My goal has always been to do the best I can with the time I have left. If people want to hang my work in their home, I owe them my best.” —Joe Kovack
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